And things sometimes don’t get better…
On this page, I shared my pains of losing my beloved Buddy Oliver with you, back in September of 2009… What a long time ago! Quite a few of the readers of this blog learned that I am a animal lover. In 2010 more than 2.500 people read about this little sunshine. Many times, I reread what I had written, and every time I left the text and the pictures as they were, untouched. I’ve edited many of my articles, either because I felt they were to harsh, or to soft, or maybe not appropriate, but this page never caused me to reevaluate what I had written, on this dark September day… when my life flipped upside down…
I grew up with Cats and Dogs and animal talk and gesture has never been foreign to me, as far as I can remember, at least. Animals, in my family, are a part of live. Many of them have filled voids, left wide open by humans, many of them have taught us about the really important things in life.
One of these things, is to do what it takes to live each day with a certain motto: “I will try to become the person which my cat, dog or any pet thinks I am!”. This involves holding doors open for those who follow us, not interrupting those who speak, being upfront, honest and courteous, and trying our best to stay respectful with our fellow human being. It’s not always easy, in fact, it often it takes quite a bit of distancing. Give a little more than you take, underpromise & overdeliver… stuff like that.
While Oliver will follow me, probably for the rest of my life, (and he has been for the last year and 3 months) I know that he is in a better place. Deep inside I know that he found out about my separation, my new home, my seaplane forum, college, friends and acquaintances and all the other stuff. So, he probably knows about Smokey & Squeaky, two well mannered, beautiful Maine Coon Cats, I get to share this home with. He knows that I had to move on and do things. Would he be happy, if he was still here? I don’t know! What I do know, is that he would still be on my side, bugging me, snuggling up to me and he would not hesitate to talk to me! Especially now, when it is cold and cruel outside. I think he knows that I still miss him terribly, every day.
Why write so much about a cat?! Good Question! I write about him, because he embodies a dramatic chain of events, which unraveled shortly after he left the stage. He left, just in time to avoid seeing his “parents” parting ways. A thing, made to last a lifetime, dismantled right before my eyes – with not much I could do, to salvage the flying pieces of shrapnel. Tough Nut and impossible to comprehend for everyone who got married with the goal of doing this only once…
A very short time later – my mentor, friend and grandfather passed on. He had taught me to fly, all the way back in 1989. I had spent years of my life on his side, watching him teach, flying with him, doing homework on the very same airport and flying club he had built in the 1950’s… My parents called me, to break the impending developments and things progressed so fast, I still could not make it back in time, for a final goodbye and farewell. I had not been “home” to Germany for almost 4 years, when I finally got there, just a few days after his death. Tough Nut, too. He was not only an Aviation Whiz, he was also a person of high moral character, who managed to pull people into flying and fascinate them about the wonders of flight, and meteorology – to this day, one of my more passionate fields of being a pilot. He had taught well in excess of 300 Pilots over his lifetime – and he is the motivator for “yours truly” to wanting to become a flight instructor, one day.
I remember clearly that he had a going bet with another flight instructor about who would solo their next protege student first. Of course they did not bet for money, but I remember having logged 6 hours and 10 minutes and 46 takeoffs and landings, before he told me I could do it on my own… and guess what… I could! Losing him as an adviser and friend was extreme and I often wonder what he would have thought of my seaplaneforum.com site. Seaplanes had always interested him and he was proud to see me serve as SPA’s Forum Administrator.
While 2009 ended on a sour mark for me, 2010 brought the loss of Telford Allen and Robert Hurd, and both of them hit close to home for me. Telford was the person who tossed me the keys to a 172 parked on his ramp, while I was still flying on a validated License (not certificate) from Germany. I got to go from KBGR to KPQI with an old time instructor he knew. At the time I was a “student” of Jim Cox, ATP & CFI-I who still flies today. Robert Hurd was a short term acquaintance, but an extremely passionate character and I valued him a lot. I got to know him only briefly, when he found out about this blog and it’s involvement with NY Advocacy Issues he shortly thereafter joined my seaplane forum… another voice, gone, which we would have benefited hearing from, for much longer.
One of our Founding Fathers got involved in, but was spared from disaster when he ended up with blue spots, and pain when laughing, walking from a wreck in NY. Shock hit home when Mary got involved in flipping her Kodiak, fortunately without major injuries.
Why would one write all of this?
Because it needs to be written, so it stays for those of us who have not yet lost close people, friends, family or even a pet animal. Because those who have gone and did not come back have no voice left. They have only us, to carry on what they stood for… and maybe we would do better listening to those close and dear to us (in my case, that cooks down to my parents, Inge & Otto) while they are still with us, rather than missing their voice terribly when they can no longer speak, act, or touch us by wor(l)dly measures! That brings me back to Oliver and the little piece of peace I get, from knowing that I did what I could to be a friend and companion to him, in his little cat world. You see, with animals you always get the whole and “true to the bone” package! They never cheat, never lie and never let you down. They don’t care for or exploit your little fallacies, shortfalls and minor quirks. Instead, they always take you at face value!! Most certainly, no animal would ever drag you to court, in front of a judge, just to make a point. And guess what… your best and real human friends won’t either! Be grateful for those on your side and let them know from time to time, that they mean a lot to you! You never know when its going to be too late.
Focus & Fly Safe!